“India is a beautiful mosaic of cultures”

Ambassador of the Czech Republic to India, Milan Hovorka, talks about his journey in India and the multitude of experiences the country offers. Vinayak Surya Swami takes notes

When did you arrive in India?

My association with India dates back to the early 2000s. I have interacted with Indian diplomats in Geneva, during my tenure as the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic to the World Trade Organization. In my capacity for eight long years as the Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade of my country, I have had several opportunities to visit India to promote relations between the two countries. However, I arrived in India in 2015, to take charge as Ambassador of the Czech Republic to India.

How was your initial experience in India?

It has been a wonderful experience to work in India. It’s a friendly country and people from India and Czech Republic share similar views, so work becomes easy. Tell us about some of your favourite destinations in India.

India is so vast, with such diverse cultures and a multitude of languages, offering such varied experiences that it’s tough to have a favourite. Wherever you go within this country,you always feel as if it is the best place you have ever visited. Hampi, for example, is spectacular. One can spend an entire day walking around the ruins of this heritage site. What would you recommend to an Indian

travelling to the Czech Republic?

My first recommendation would be to visit as often as possible and experience traditional Czech hospitality. I would want Indians to explore my country and not restrict themselves to Prague, the capital city. There are so many beautiful destinations located merely three to four hours away from Prague. Ours is a beautiful country with as many as 12 historical monuments recognised by UNESCO . I would also like to invite Indians to hold wedding celebrations in some of the stunning palaces in my country. From history to nature and from experiences associated with music and theatre, to premium dining, Czech Republic offers a plethora of engagements. And just as India has Ayurveda, we have our own traditional natural remedies.

Tell us about your most memorable experience in India. That’s a very difficult question and it may take me at least two or three evenings to answer it! There have been so many memorable moments for me in India, that it’s a challenge to just choose one or two. However, a few important events stand out in this long list, like the visit of Indian President Ram Nath Kovind to Czech Republic in September 2018 and our Prime Minister Andrej Babis’ visit to India in January this year. In a country like India, the entire time you spend is very emotional; it’s like a mosaic. You cannot highlight just one or two aspects of it, you have to look at the complete picture to comprehend its beauty.

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